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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

From The National (UAE):

Eight people accused of defaming the UAE's image abroad by producing a spoof documentary have received prison sentences.

American S C and Indians R and A were jailed for a year and fined Dh10,000 each by the State Security Court.

Two Emirati brothers, S D and S D, were given eight months and Dh5,000 fines. A third brother, AD, was pardoned.

A Canadian woman, a British woman and an American man were not detained and were sentenced in absentia to a year in prison and a Dh10,000 fine each.

The judge also ruled that copies of the video should be confiscated.

The 19-minute film was set in Satwa, Dubai, which they depicted as a dangerous neighbourhood plagued by warring gangs. To protect themselves, the characters practise martial arts using items of Emirati national dress including the agal, the black rope worn around the headdress, and naal, the leather slippers.

The detained American, a business consultant and amateur stand-up comedian and the convicted Emirati brothers – one a media and marketing manager and rapper, the other a student and part-time airline worker – posted the video on YouTube in October last year. They were arrested in April this year.

Defence lawyers said their clients had not intended to mock the UAE's culture or harm its reputation overseas.

They said the video was only intended to be a satire about how suburban teenagers had adopted gang culture and that the video started with a disclaimer saying: "The following events are fictional and no offence was intended to the people of Satwa and UAE."

The two Emiratis have already spent eight months in prison awaiting the verdict and are expected to be released soon. The American and two Indians will be released next month.
The American's name is Shezanne Cassim; he was born in Sri Lanka and went to University of Minnesota.

Here's the video. A bit long and not quite as funny as they probably intended, but it is harmless...unless you are a thin-skinned UAE official.

I'm sure that jailing eight people (and demanding that all copies of the video be confiscated!)  will ensure that the UAE's sterling reputation remains flawless.

By the way, the UAE will host major concerts this year, including Santana, Eric Clapon, the Backstreet Boys, and Herbie Hancock. No one is calling for these artists to boycott the misogynist, intolerant country or to show support for an American in jail for exercising his right to express himself.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 08:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Empowering Palestinians who reject Israel's right to exist
That's right. The same America that until a few years ago led the free world in the global war against terror, now conditions its support for Israel, its chief regional ally in that war, on the Jewish state's willingness to release unrepentant, mass murdering terrorists back into Palestinian society.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it ought to go without saying that this policy hinders, rather than advances the cause of peace. It is impossible to rationally claim that by coercing Israel into releasing people like Juma Ibrahim Juma Adam and Mahmoud Salam Saliman Abu Karbish that the US is advancing the cause of peace.
Quote of Note: PLO Leader Zahir Muhsein
According to Mr. Muhsein, "the Palestinian people does not exist."
Who are we to argue?
Nonetheless, if the very point of "Palestinian" people-hood was something other than trying to rob the Jewish people of our homeland after persecuting us for 13 centuries, I would be more than happy to welcome them into the greater family of nations. However, since the "Palestinians" only emerged as a group for the purpose of doing the Jewish people terrible harm, within living memory of the Holocaust, I see no reason whatsoever in acknowledging them as a distinct ethnicity or nation, particularly given the fact that they are not a distinct ethnicity or nation. Nations do not come into existence for the sole purpose of destroying other nations and even if they sometimes did, those whom they seek to destroy are under no moral or ethical obligation to assist them by recognizing them.
Israel should cease undermining its own well-being by dealing with these people. Mahmoud Abbas should be entirely persona non grata, as should the PLO, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority.
Is anti-Zionism the same as antisemitism?
The standard defence against any accusation of antisemitism nowadays is to claim that you are an anti-Zionist (generally considered by the main stream media to be a good, liberal, enlightened position) and not an antisemite (generally considered by the main stream media to be a very bad thing). That is certainly the 'defence' that Nicolas Anelka, for example, will be using since even his openly antisemitic hero whom he claims his salute was dedicated to, has already used it himself.
So, following on from my previous posts (the difference between the Nazi boycott of Jews and the Israel boycott movement, and what leftists really believe) I have produced a chart below which obviously confirms that anti-Zionism and antisemitism have absolutely nothing in common.

Analysis: Can Israel annex the Jordan Valley under international law?
Essentially, all of the above arguments, both for and against, can be made regarding the Jordan Valley, with two wrinkles.
Those supporting annexation might try to argue that at worst, Jordan, like Syria, attacked Israel first in 1967, but at best, the Jordan Valley was part of the Israeli-Palestinian disputed areas in which, unlike the Golan which had been under Syrian sovereignty, there really was no prior sovereign Palestinian country in control of the territory, to which it would now have to be returned.
Unlike the Golan, the Jordan Valley can be said to be part of the Oslo process (in which it was categorized as Area C, remaining under Israeli control at least until later negotiation stages) and its successor talks.
Eugene Kontorovich: Murders or Houses: Kerry's V.A.T. on Peace
Moreover, if the occupation were so terrible (or real) one would think Abbas would be in a hurry to get to the bargaining table without any preliminaries. This suggests Abbas is not in such a hurry to get an "end of the occupation" so much as particular tactical wins. Moreover, the fact that a top priority for Abbas is the release of mass murders so they can be feted and remunerated shows that "peace" is not vaguely on the horizon, regardless of whether a Kerry diplomatic achievement is. If Bibi partied down with Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein, it would be the end of his career.
But aren't houses less important than justice for the murdered? Of course. However, unlike the release of terrorists, a construction freeze is fundamentally related to the substance of the negotiations themselves. That is, of all the proposed "gestures," the freeze would not only be problematic in itself, but would have Israel start negotiations on its back foot.
PM: Murderers are not heroes
Peace will only come when Israel's "security and settlement interests" are ensured, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, adding "settlement interests" for the first time into his usual formula about Israel's security needs.
Netanyahu, speaking in Tiberias at a conference on Galilee development, also took the Palestinian Authority to task for the reception it gave the released Palestinian security prisoners overnight.
"Peace will come only when our security and settlement interests will be ensured," he said, placing "settlement interests" together with "security ones," a new formulation and slight change of nuance that could have significance as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives Thursday to push forward the talks with the Palestinians.
Misled by Bimkom, Reuters Must Correct on Shuafat Building
We noted, in part, Browning's factual error, in which he claims:
Palestinians in and around Shuafat have lacked officially approved residential plans for over 45 years, according to the Israeli building rights group Bimkom – meaning any construction since then is illegal and subject to possible demolition.
After the publication of our analysis, we received a detailed response from Ariela Smilensky-Deri, the spokeswoman for the municipality's engineering department, regarding building plans for Shuafat in which have enabled the construction of hundreds of residential units in Shuafat in recent years.
Chief Palestinian Authority Negotiator: Peace Talks With Israel Have Failed, Pointless to Continue
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, said on Monday that since peace talks with Israel have failed, it is pointless to continue negotiating for the duration of the nine- month agreed upon period, Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported.
Nicolas Anelka, sex, and the triumph of hatred
The lesson, though — and there is a chilling lesson here — relates to hatred's capacity to brand its bitter mark on the souls of those who are prone to carrying chips on their shoulders, those who feel grudges and slights, those who believe that they are not being given their due — be they the German masses in the years approaching World War II, whipped up by Nazi incitement, or multi-millionaire soccer players who have nonetheless managed to convince themselves that the world is against them, stirred up by cynical politician-comedians.
Anelka hadn't scored a goal in England in more than two years. Now he had broken that dry spell, to the ecstatic relief of his teammates, his management, tens of thousands of adoring fans in the stadium, and untold numbers watching across the globe. What a moment, so long yearned-for. What a release. But in those first glorious seconds of triumph, influenced by his cynical, anti-Semitic friend, he was able to suppress the instinctive sense of delight and joy almost all of us would have felt and would have exhibited. To easily suppress those instincts.
French 'quenelle' comedian faces trial for gas chamber slur
Paris prosecutors on Monday ordered the opening of a criminal investigation against the comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala on suspicion of incitement to racial hatred, according to the news site They were reacting to the airing of a television show about Dieudonné earlier this month on France 2, in which Dieudonné said: "When I hear about Patrick Cohen, I say to myself: You see, the gas chambers… It's a shame."
Cohen, a veteran journalist for France Inter, earlier this year criticized France 2 for giving airtime to people with what he termed "sick minds." He named Dieudonné along with Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss professor who is banned from entering the United States for his support for Palestinian terrorist groups; Holocaust denier Alain Soral; and Marc-Edouard Nabe, an anti-Zionist writer who has been accused of anti-Semitism.
Wiesenthal Center Accepts Tony Parker Apology, Calls for Statement in French
Jewish human rights group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), has accepted an apology issued by NBA star Tony Parker, after strongly criticizing his past use of the "quenelle" gesture which is widely considered to be anti-Semitic, and has been described as "the Nazi salute in reverse." However, the group said that it is crucial that Parker also issues the statement in French.
BBC Sport amplifies Anelka excuses, downplays antisemitism
Given that the target audience of this report is for the most part unlikely to be well versed on the subject of antisemitic trends in some of the darker corners of French social media and considering that this offensive trend appears to be spreading in the sporting world, it is especially regrettable that BBC Sport has wasted the opportunity to adequately clarify the background to the controversy surrounding Anelka's action to BBC audiences, instead opting to amplify assorted excuses and downplay the antisemitism of Anelka's racist friend.
UN Watch: Top 10 worst U.N. decisions of 2013
1. The UN Human Rights Council elected Hezbollah supporter Jean Ziegler, founder and recipient of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize, as a top advisor.
BBC corrections and complaints – 2013 round-up
With the end of the year approaching fast, it is time to take a look at some of the corrections the BBC has made over the past year – and some it has not.
On the BBC News website, corrections can be divided into those made clear to audiences in a footnote and those which are 'stealth' corrections with no public acknowledgement of changes made to reports.
Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2013
This year, the media have blundered all too many times in reporting on the Middle East. There were, unfortunately, countless potential "winners," but CAMERA has identified our...
Jordanian wins prestigious Israeli research scholarship
A 26-year-old Jordanian master's student in Israel, Zainab Taya, will be the first Jordanian ever to receive the Yair Guron Memorial Scholarship, for her work using desert plant extracts to halt the spread of cancer cells. Taya studies and performs her research at the excavation extension of the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, which operates under the auspices of Ben University.
Her scholarship, meanwhile, will be awarded in January at the Yair Research Station, part of the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development center. (h/t Bob Knot)
Justin Timberlake to perform in Tel Aviv in May
Open your calendars and mark the date: Barring any last-minute changes, American pop star Justin Timberlake is set to perform in Israel on May 28th in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park, Israel Hayom has learned.
7 people who stood with Israel in 2013
Let's be real: 2013 was a tough year for Israel in the public eye.
From biased headlines in the international press, to the BDS movement, to the rising tide of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism sweeping across the world, we got the memo: There are a lot of people who really don't like Israel.
But you know what? These shmucks get enough air time as it is, so we're going to take the focus off of them for a change, and instead talk about the wonderful people who have stood with Israel in 2013.
ISRAEL21c's top 10 most-read stories of 2013
ISRAEL21c takes a look back at a busy year of stories to bring you our 10 most popular stories.
Top 10 most popular ISRAEL21c videos of 2013
A new medical device for the blind, mouthwatering goodies, and a new 'Postcard From Israel' travel series won over YouTube viewers in 2013.
Israeli high-tech soared in 2013
Waze acquisition leads year of impressive exits and rise in mobile and web investments.
WATCH: Greatest IDF Moments of 2013
2013 was a momentous year for the IDF. Through all of the challenges and celebrations, we remained focused on our supreme goal: to defend the people of Israel.
This year, as every year, terrorism struck Israeli civilians and soldiers. Whether it was gunfire on troops, rockets fired at civilians, explosives placed near soldiers, or attempted kidnappings, terrorist organizations did their utmost to carry out attacks against the State of Israel – but the enemy's determination only strengthened our resolve to defend Israel and its citizens.

Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 06:00:00 PM
From a French TV show in 1970, Israeli legend Yaffa Yarkoni singing (in French and Hebrew) the Israeli classic "Bashanah Haba'ah:"

The Hebrew lyrics mean:

Next year we will sit on the porch and count migrating birds.
Children on vacation will play catch between the house and the fields.

You will yet see, you will yet see, how good it will be next year.

Red grapes will ripen till the evening, and will be served chilled to the table.
And languid winds will carry to the crossroads old newspapers and a cloud.

You will yet see, you will yet see, how good it will be next year.

Next year we will spread out our hands towards the radiant light.
A white heron like a light will spread her wings and within then the sun will rise.

You will yet see, you will yet see, how good it will be next year.

Nowadays is it even conceivable that a Jewish Israeli performer could go on a European TV show without being interrupted by the haters along with protests outside and calls for boycott? (Arab Israelis wouldn't have a problem - only Jews.)

I hope next year is better.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 04:00:00 PM
Best posts according to commenter Alexandre:

1.The elephants in the room, 2013
2. Congratulations, we have achieved peace. Don't ruin it with a "peace plan."
3. [Zero-sum game] + [Arab projection] = [Blame the Jews]

Most popular:

1. Roger Waters flies a pig balloon with a Star of David in Belgium concert (video)
2. UN interpreter accidentally tells the world the truth (video)
3. Fantastic Arabic poster
4. Lingerie model now covers up as a reporter/propagandist on Iran's PressTV

Most viral (Tweets and FB Likes)

1. Bashar Assad's grandfather's amazing 1936 letter to France
2. Video: French diplomat punching IDF soldier in the face
3. Idiot's Guide to the Middle East (chart)

And two posts from previous years keep getting lots of hits, FB Likes and RTs:

1. EoZ Posters for "Apartheid Week" (over 40,000 hits so far)
2.. Debunking "The Map That Lies"

Biggest stories I broke:

1. UN verifies that BBC reporter's son was killed by Hamas
2. Passover blood libel in Hanan Ashrawi's "Miftah" website
3. Yeshiva U law school to give award to Israel-hater Jimmy Carter (updated)
4. The Economist reveals its anti-Israel bias
5. Hamas terrorists mourn Helen Thomas
6. UNRWA dean of education posts Hitler quote on FB
7. Egyptian newspaper publishes TWO articles saying Jews drink gentile blood on Passover
8. My conversation with an anti-Israel Amnesty spokesperson
9. Arab TV series inciting hate against Jews coming in July. Will anyone do anything to stop it?

Most popular posters (click to enlarge):


"How Israel can win the information war"
"How to answer the top twenty anti-Israel arguments"

Best cartoons (click to enlarge):

Other notable posts:

It only takes two words to see how imbecilic Max Blumenthal is
EU, knowing it is wrong, still refuses to correct "1967 borders" terminology
The Church of Scotland has big problems with the Old Testament
A history lesson for congenital liar Shlomo Sand
The biggest Gaza myth of all

There are plenty that I missed, but this is a pretty good sample of what I did this year. With your help, I plan to keep going in 2014, which is my tenth year of blogging!

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 02:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Netanyahu condemns hero's welcome for prisoners
"The essence of the difference between us and our neighbors can be seen in one picture," Netanyahu said at the seventh annual Galilee Conference Tuesday, referring to the sight of throngs of Palestinians giving the released prisoners — almost all of them convicted of murder — a hero's welcome.
"While we prepare to take very painful steps in an effort to try and reach an agreement that would end the conflict, they, along with their top leadership, are celebrating," said the prime minister.
"Murderers are not heroes," he declared. "This is not how one educates for peace."
Report: Israel tells US it will not release Israeli-Arab prisoners
The official told Channel 2 that Israel felt "deceived" by Kerry, who caved to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' demand to increase the number of prisoners released from 82 to 104, and led him to believe Israel would be willing to release prisoners with Israeli citizenship.
The PMO denied that claim by the official as well, saying Kerry did not deceive Israel on the peace talks, Channel 2 reported.
Netanyahu reportedly told Kerry that while Israel was not willing to release Israeli-Arab prisoners as a gesture to the Palestinians, it would be willing to release them as a gesture to the US, in return for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.
Abbas: 'No final deal until all prisoners are released'
"This is day of happiness for our nation, our families and our prisoners, the heroes, who have seen the light of freedom," he said. "We are guaranteeing that this won't be the last time that prisoners are freed."
Abbas said that for the prospective fourth release he hoped that sick prisoners would also be freed, and that they would be sent home and not expelled to other places. He also said that he would not tolerate one Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail if there was to be a peace agreement.
"There won't be a final agreement with Israel until all the prisoners are released."

Woman who Saved Terrorist Protests his Release
Twenty-one years ago, Jerusalem woman Bella Freund was propelled into sudden fame when she saved an Arab terrorist from an angry mob. Freund ran across an angry crowd beating a 21-year-old terrorist who had just stabbed and wounded two Jewish children; she protected him with her body for nearly half an hour, taking blows meant for him and preventing the mob from killing him on the spot.
Her act was widely publicized at the time, and later inspired the song "Bella Bellisima" by the popular Israeli band Dag Nachash.
Now Bella is in the public eye again – this time, protesting the impending release of the terrorist she saved, along with over two dozen others. She explained to Arutz Sheva that the release of the terrorist undermines the very values that propelled her to save his life.
2 Officers Honored For Preventing Bat Yam Bombing
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino awarded a certificate of honor to two police officers, whose actions saved many lives in the Bat Yam bus bombing on December 22. The award was decided on following an investigation of the incident.
The incident occurred on a Dan Bus Company 240 line bus on its way from Bnei Brak to Bat Yam. As the bus arrived in Bat Yam, a passenger notified the driver to the presence of an unattended bag with wires protruding from it, at which the bus was evacuated.
Police arrived at the bus only 4 minutes after the suspicious bag was noticed, helping to distance civilians from the site. A police bomb squad officer was wounded in the blast, but otherwise casualties were avoided.
Children's hate speech against Jews broadcast on PA TV children's program
This is the fifth successive year that official PA TV has chosen to broadcast these statements by children accusing the Jews of poisoning Arafat. Originally, they were part of a larger collection of statements by children broadcast at an official Arafat memorial, several of whom repeated the libel that the Jews murdered Arafat. However, this is the first time this hate speech has been broadcast as part of a program directed at children. Following the boy and the girl's statements, the PA TV host confirmed the libel:

Arafat, Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State (REVIEW)
State of Failure: Arafat, Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, by Jonathan Schanzer (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.)
In the Palestinian case study, Palestinians have attempted to circumvent the building phase in favor of "instant statehood," that is to argue that because we think we should have a state, we will.
Enter Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who specializes in Palestinian politics. In his latest book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, he methodically details the corruption, lack of leadership and countless excuses by the Palestinians to avoid building a viable state, in favor of Jewish rejectionism at large. As the author correctly describes Arafat's leadership, "While Arafat was revered by his people for almost singlehandedly focusing the world's attention on the Palestinian cause from the 1960′s until his death, the problem of corruption would, to some extent, define his legacy."
Hamas reels as Egypt dubs its twin a terror group
Egypt's establishment daily Al-Ahram called the decision to ban the Brotherhood "an earthquake" for Hamas, quoting Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum as saying that his movement is "proud" of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood school of thought.
Fatah rushed to jump on the Egyptian bandwagon. On Sunday, its central committee called on Hamas to "join the national movement and stop intervening in Egypt." Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said that Hamas's refusal to cut its ties with the international Muslim Brotherhood proved that "it couldn't care less about the interests of our people.
"This Hamas position proves once again that its priorities were and continue to be realizing the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and not the interests of the Palestinian people and their just national cause."
Hamas Finishes 2013 With a Whimper, Not a Bang
Quite simply, Hamas does not enjoy that kind of clout anymore. Over the past 12 months, the fortunes of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas that loudly proclaims, "Islam is the Solution," have gone from a peak to a trough in a dizzyingly short space of time. In Tunisia, the governing Islamist Ennahda party was chastened by a coalition of secularist groups, and is currently in the final stages of handing over to a caretaker government. And in Egypt, where the Brotherhood was first formed in the late 1920s, the regime of Mohamed Morsi that came to power in 2012 was unseated by the Egyptian military, following angry demonstrations against the Brotherhood that, left unchecked, might have resulted in a nasty civil war.
In these conditions, Hamas is just about clinging on to power in Gaza. But all the signs are that the Gaza Strip's Palestinian residents are becoming more and more fed up with Islamist rule. Recently, a fuel crisis triggered by Egypt's destruction of tunnels from Sinai into Gaza that had been used for smuggling, as well as a tax hike on fuel prices engineered by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, compelled Hamas to cancel the celebrations around the 26th anniversary of its formation.
Jordanian Palestinian who writes for 'Post' indicted in Jordan for 'inciting hatred'
Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian writer and academic from Jordan who has written op-eds for The Jerusalem Post, was indicted in a Jordanian court for incitement and damaging the image of Jordan.
"The court has indicted me for the crime of 'inciting hatred and attacking Jordan's image and the image of its one nation,'" Zahran told the Post.
The indictment also mentions that since his arrival in the UK, he started writing in Israeli newspapers.
The Tragedy Of Syria's Child Refugees
The civil war in Syria, which has been raging for three years, has created an unprecedented refugee tragedy: The largest displaced population is probably the "domestic refugees" – those who have remained in the country despite having lost their dwellings to the destructive forces of war. Nearly as large a group – and the focus of this paper – are the "refugees" proper, namely those forced by circumstances of war and violence to leave their country for an unknown future in mostly neighboring countries.
For more than six decades, the Middle East has been preoccupied with the Palestinian refugees. That will no longer be the case. The enormity of the number of the Syrian refugees and the very special demographic structure will likely shove the Palestinian refugee issue onto a back burner. It is the nature of history that new problems displace old ones. There is an important Roman legal principle of Lex posterior derogat priori ("most recent law overrules previous ones on the same matter"). And so will be the case with refugees.
A Film Joins the Fight Between the Syrians and Saudis
The movie depicts a young Abdul Aziz as a violent plunderer raiding desert camps, stealing valuables, maniacally smashing a man's head with a stone, and performing religious ablutions with the blood of an enemy. He is portrayed as a dishonorable hypocrite, permitting the stoning of a young couple for alleged adultery while he rapes several women. (Anzour avoided some taboos: there are no explicit sex scenes.)
The King is presented as a lustful brute throughout his life. In several scenes, he is a wheelchair-bound old man who, with a quivering hand, reaches between the thighs of a nervous girl in a niqab to deflower her. As if all that wasn't enough, the movie portrays Abdul Aziz as a tool of the British who sells out Palestine by agreeing to allow the creation of a Jewish state in its place.
Anzour draws a straight line from the alleged cruelty of the late King to global terrorism, 9/11, the London bombings, Osama bin Laden, and the armed Syrian rebels fighting Assad's forces. It is not subtle. "We might have killed the man," a male voice says over an image of bin Laden, "but did we kill the idea?"
Iran doesn't take Obama's military option seriously, says Oren
Moreover, Oren warned, there was "nothing that would indicate" the Iranians believe US President Barack Obama would ever resort to force to prevent them from attaining the bomb.
He stressed that if Iran is not stopped at the enrichment stage, thwarting it once it had moved the key components of its bomb-making program underground would require thoroughly unlikely "massive, massive bombing campaigns" that would "flatten all of Iran."
And any last-resort Israeli military intervention, Oren acknowledged, has become "much harder" since the charming, mild-mannered Hassan Rouhani succeeded the confrontational Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's president and the US-led international community became deeply engaged in diplomacy with Iran.
The Rouhani delusion
After all, the whole purpose of sanctions was to give the regime a stark choice – keep your nuclear weapons programme at the risk of economic collapse, or survive in exchange for dismantling it.
Rouhani's analysis shows that Iran was dangerously close to that moment of truth – and sanctions relief in exchange for reversible concessions gives it the kind of breathing space it has been denied until now. Considering how hard it was to get there, this is the worst possible unforced error that diplomacy could score.
For almost a decade, the United States and the European Union built a sophisticated, multilayered sanctions architecture to persuade Iran to comply with its international obligations. Those obligations are defined by six Chapter VII Security Council resolutions that patient diplomacy successfully pushed through – and that the interim deal has now undermined.
Iranian chief negotiator: 'Good progress' in nuclear talks
Iranian deputy foreign minister and lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state-run Press TV that "relatively good progress" had been made in the Geneva meeting and that the results of the negotiations would be announced later Tuesday.
However, he said, there remained issues to work out "at the political level."
Critics Slam EU Response After Top Lebanese Hezbollah Foe Murdered in Beirut Massive Car Bombing
The murder will likely be read against deepening sectarian violence spilling into the region from inside Syria, where the Iran-backed Assad regime has been fighting a nearly three-year war against largely Sunni rebel groups. An upcoming conference in Geneva designed to dampen the violence has been severely criticized for potentially maneuvering Syrian Sunnis into accommodating the regime, and the international reaction to Chatah's assassination has fueled similar criticism. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton reacted to the attack by calling on "Lebanon's political leaders and the Lebanese people to put aside all differences and join forces… to restore security in the country." Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), criticized Ashton's statement:
Lebanese Army Reportedly Finds Launchpads Used to Strike Israel
The Lebanese Army found four rocket launchpads that may have been used to strike Israel on Sunday, Lebanon's The Daily Star reported on Monday, citing an unnamed security source.
The Daily Star said the Army discovered the launchpads in Khreibet, in south Lebanon, where two rockets fired towards Israel's Kiryat Shmona likely were launched from. In a statement, the Army said two rockets were launched into Israel from somewhere in Khreibet at 7:02 a.m.
Egypt Calls on Arab Countries to Blacklist the Brotherhood
AFP reported that Egypt called on Arab League members to enforce a counterterrorism treaty that would block funding and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Cairo also wants the League's members to hand over wanted Islamists linked to the Brotherhood,
to which deposed president Mohammed Morsi belongs, the report said.
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that Arab League members that signed the 1998 counterterrorism treaty should enforce it against the Brotherhood.
Report: Erdogan Supporters Shout 'Are You Jewish' While Attacking Istanbul Woman
The group of attackers, who numbered 15-20 according to the victim, were leaving a rally hosted by Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Friday night. The event, which was held outside Istanbul's airport, was hosted in honor of Ergodan who was returning home from an international trip.
The thugs then encountered the young woman, who is only identified by the paper by her initials E.Y., as she was leaving an anti corruption protest at Istanbul's Taksim Square. They then began to shout "are you Jewish" as they attacked her physically, the paper reported.

Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 12:00:00 PM
If you want to insult your opponent in the Muslim world, you can't do better than to call him a Jew - or worse than a Jew.

We've already seen Muslim Brotherhood supporters claiming that Egypt's al-Sisi is Jewish, and we've seen Sisi's supporters saying that the original founder of the Muslim Brotherhood was Jewish.

We've seen Shiites accused of being worse than Jews, secularists accused of being worse than Jews. and Islamists accused of being worse than Jews.

So who's left?

Why, it is our favorite antisemite and popular TV preacher, Sheikh Yussuf Qaradawi!

According to a pro-Shiite newspaper, "research" has shown that Qaradawi's family came from an area where
Jews of the Bani Qurayza tribe had fled from Arabia to Egypt. His grandfather practiced usury, just like the Jews, and gouged farmers with high interest loans. He would confer with Jewish rabbis on how to do his immoral money lending business. In other words, while they don't want to say it explicitly, Qaradawi is of obvious Jewish descent!

Qaradawi had called for jihad against Syria and Hezbollah, which pretty much explains this whole accusation.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 10:15:00 AM
From ANSAmed:
The Palestinian ambassador to Rome launched a campaign Friday to raise funds through movements, associations and private citizens for the population of the Gaza Strip. ... ''We are asking Italians to help prevent the latest in a long string of tragedies,'' Palestinian ambassador Mai Al-Kaila told journalists in outlining the initiative Una Coperta per Gaza ('A Blanket for Gaza').

In Gaza, the rain and snow of the past few days led to a breakdown of the precarious sewage system, flooding the streets of towns and villages and swamping homes, schools and infrastructure never repaired after the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead. Clean water was mixed with waste water, and now there is not a single tap for clean drinking water in the entire Gaza Strip, which 1.8 million Palestinians call home. The Palestinian ambassador noted that amid this situation, Israel has not only continued with its embargo that prohibits even the entrance into the territory of medicine, but also opened its dams, through which the Israeli State's waters are flushed out into the Mediterranean, contributing to the breakdown of the entire sewage treatment system and flooding Gaza with putrid mud. The situation is entirely out of control, the ambassador said, calling for ''international mobilization'' for the people living in the Gaza Strip, most of whom have been left without a roof over their heads,food, drinking water, and heating. ''Over half of the population in Gaza live in refugee camps,'' Mai Al-Kaila noted, ''in tents and makeshift shelters.'' ... Encouraging the Palestinian diplomatic office to launch the campaign, the ambassador said, ''were in part Pope Francis's words at Christmas and his appeal to share with the poor.

The donations (20 euros for a blanket) should be addressed to "Una Coperta per Gaza"/ Missione Diplomatica Palestinese/IBAN: IT 36 E 02008 05211 000021004086
Funny. I follow Gaza pretty closely and this is the first time I have heard that there was a shortage of blankets. .

It is also interesting to read that Israel prohibits medicines to Gaza (they don't,) Israel opened "dams" (that don't exist,) and that most Gazans don't have shelter or live in tents or temporary structures (which is absurd) and that over half of Gazans live in refugee camps (actually, about 30%.)

The PLO ambassador to Italy (who used to work for UNRWA) knows the truth. But she knows something more important: that lies that are provided as part of a "humanitarian aid campaign" will not be questioned by most people. Who would presume that blankets for people who don't have a blanket shortage is a cover for anti-Israel lies? Especially when Pope Francis is quoted to support the campaign of falsehood!

This "charity" is nothing of the sort. It is skillful propaganda directed by the PLO. And they know, from experience, that anti-Israel lies will be swallowed whole, especially when disguised as "humanitarian aid." (I fully expect that not a single blanket will be sent to Gaza from this campaign - no one is asking for them. Israel routinely sends truckloads of blankets, sheets and mattresses to Gaza.)

I found a photo of Mai al-Kaila from when she was "ambassador" to Chile. Note the map behind her that erases Israel - a map that features the Fatah logo:

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 08:00:00 AM
This photo was on Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page today.

Here's video of Abbas welcoming the terrorists as heroes and his speech at the ceremony.

During his speech Abbas said "We promise that it will not be the last time, but there will be a batch of heroes coming to us all the time and in the near future, God willing....This is the day the joy of all of us the joy of our people for our prisoner heroes who came out today to the light of freedom to live free, we congratulate you and congratulate ourselves with these heroes who arrived here and who arrived in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the rest will come, God willing."

He said that soon there will be a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem and the Palestinian flag will fly over the minarets and churches of Jerusalem.

We know what would happen to the synagogues if he had his choice.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/31/2013 05:00:00 AM

Monday, December 30, 2013

This photo was taken by Niece of Ziyon, who recently made aliyah with her new husband,  from her apartment window on Monday. One end of the rainbow is at Har HaMenuchot.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 11:30:00 PM
Turkish riot police have blasted opposition protesters with water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets in Istanbul in scenes reminiscent of the summer's mass anti-government demonstrations.

Some of the protesters on Friday evening threw rocks and firecrackers at police, shouting, "Catch the thief!" in reference to a widening corruption scandal gripping Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Similar protests were held in the city of Izmir, and in Ankara where police also fired water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Police blocked hundreds of protesters from gathering in Istanbul's central Taksim Square and pushed them away to the nearby streets.

At least 31 people, including three lawyers, have been detained in Istanbul, according to the Istanbul Bar Association.

Thousands of Erdogan backers, meanwhile, gathered at other spots showing their support for the embattled Erdogan.

Twenty-four people, including the sons of two former government ministers and the head of the state-owned financial institution, Halkbank, have been arrested on bribery charges.

Media reports say the probe is over alleged illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party is being directed by "arrogance," former Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said in a news conference on Friday announcing his resignation, adding that he was parting ways with the AKP.

Erdogan has continued to ignore the demands to step down.

"Those who call it a corruption inquiry are corrupt themselves," he told a large crowd of his supporters on Friday as he returned to Istanbul from a political rally in the northwest.

Erdogan also criticised politicians who quit his party because of the scandal, saying they "betrayed us along our journey"
Sometimes a small side story illuminates the bigger picture:
Enemy of the state
Turkish police detained a woman in the western province of Manisa on Dec. 29 after she protested against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with a shoebox, in a reference to money found in shoeboxes during a major corruption operation.

Police seized $4.5 million in cash in shoeboxes during the bribery raid in the house of Süleyman Aslan on Dec. 18, the general manager of the state-run lender Halkbank.

The woman, identified as Nurhan Gül, reportedly showed a shoebox from her balcony while Erdoğan was addressing his supporters during a rally in Manisa's Akhisar district. Shortly after Gül's protest, police and bodyguards of the prime minister came and detained the woman.

Gül has been released pending trial after she was taken to the police station and questioned for two hours.

"I waved the empty shoebox and sat at my balcony. I did not use any word or verbal expression. Bodyguards and police came to my house after one or two minutes. They asked who waved that box. I was detained after saying it was me," Gül said in her testimony.
Amazingly, not one university association is calling to boycott Turkey, or is even publishing a statement about its corruption, arbitrary arrests, denial of freedom of assembly or any other violations of human rights. They must have overlooked it.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 08:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Sherri Mandell: I'm glad my son's murderers have not been found
Please, Israeli government, I beg you: Don't go looking for my son's killers. The ones who cruelly beat Koby and Yosef to death with rocks, the barbarians who attacked two eighth grade boys — my son and his friend — who were on a hike near our home in Israel. Please don't find them. Don't apprehend them and put them in jail and make my family and me sit through a long trial and sentencing, where my heart will quake and my stomach will constrict and I will feel that I am about to faint.
Don't find them guilty and put them in jail. Because I don't want the torture of knowing that these killers will find their way to freedom one day, will be greeted by their mothers with hugs, while my son and Yosef lie in the ground. I could not bear to go through what 26 Israeli families are going through today: betrayal by the government that is supposed to protect them.
Fogels' Son Asks: Why Are they Releasing Murderers?
11-year-old Roi Fogel, whose parents and three siblings were brutally murdered by Arab terrorists in the Shomron town of Itamar in 2011, wants to know why the Israeli government is releasing terrorist murderers.
Unreported by the Guardian: Details on latest Palestinian prisoners to be released (& their victims)
On December 28th the Israeli Prison Service published the list of prisoners scheduled for release later this week, representing the third round of four scheduled releases agreed upon by Israel's prime minister as a 'goodwill gesture' to get the Palestinians to resume peace talks.
As we have noted previously, many newspapers (including the Guardian, Independent, and Irish Times) have whitewashed the violent crimes of the prisoners being released and all but ignored the victims. So, in addition to details about the perpetrators and their crimes, we've also included some information on the Israeli (and Palestinian) victims.

Terror victims organization petitions High Court against Palestinian prisoner release
As the Israeli government prepares to release 26 additional prisoners convicted of acts of terrorism before the signing of the Oslo Accords, the relatives of terrorism victims are also planning a large-scale demonstration in faint hopes of foiling the move.
Almagor is arguing that the government has exceeded its authority by releasing Palestinians who are residents of east Jerusalem, and thus holders of Israeli identity cards.
Protest to Take Place Outside Home of Jerusalem Terrorist
Khalaf is an Arab resident of Jerusalem who holds Israeli citizenship, who was arrested in 1992 for his role in attempting to carry out a terror attack with two other terrorists. Besides, Khalaf, four other Jerusalem Arabs are set to be released.
The group will meet outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem and from there march to the American Consulate. They will then proceed to the home of Khalaf, located in the Old City.
US deal will trade off 'Jewish' Israel for 1967 lines — report
US Secretary of State John Kerry will offer Israeli and Palestinian negotiators a political trade-off: Israeli recognition of the 1967 lines as a basis for the future Palestinian state, in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, Palestinian sources told the Saudi daily Al-Watan on Sunday.
According to the sources, the mutual recognition will constitute the core of a framework agreement to be signed by the end of January, and negotiated in greater detail during the following months.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Erekat: Peace talks have failed, PA should seek statehood recognition
Chief PLO negotiator says Israel foiled talks, adds denying Jordan border for Palestinian state "is clear step towards apartheid."
The peace talks with Israel have failed and the Palestinian Authority should seek membership in international agencies and forums, Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat declared Monday.
Erekat's announcement came as another top PLO official, Jamal Muheissen, reiterated the Palestinians' rejection of US Secretary of State John Kerry's new ideas for security arrangements between a Palestinian state and Israel. (h/t Jewess)
It's going to get bad fast between Israel and the US
As Israel faces concerted pressure, lethal violence and international opprobrium because of the failure of US-generated talks that themselves have brought violence, the Jewish state can perhaps take some solace that at least one neighbor understands their predicament — their new kindred spirits in the Saudi royal family.
"He's so wounded," said influential Saudi Prince Alaweed bin Talal, referring to Obama. "It's very scary. Look, the 2014 elections are going to begin. Within two months they're going to start campaigning. Thirty-nine members of his own party in the House have already moved away from him on Obamacare. That's scary for him."
Not only for him, your Highness.
Ya'alon: EU boycott preferable to rockets on Ben-Gurion Airport
Assailing the West as "paternalistic," Ya'alon said that instead of them explaining to him, with all of his experience on the ground, how he misunderstands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we need "to explain to Europe why they're wrong."
He also complained that some in the West were what he considered obsessed with solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the solution to all problems in the Middle East when really he said that it is currently clear that "problems in Tunisia and Egypt have nothing to do with us." (h/t Bob Knot)
Buried by the 'Times'
Here is how propaganda works: It gives pride of place to certain articles and omits or minimizes – buries – others; presents opinion pieces as if they are objective news – and then supports such "news" with opinion pieces in the very same issue; presents compelling but often misleading and wrongly captioned photos to accompany the biased news; and it does so every single day.
Sometimes this is done blatantly, more often it is a steady stream of low-level disinformation. Newspapers and websites will also inflate and sensationalize something minor and deny, omit or bury something that is quite major.
Trinity College Profs issue letter rejecting anti-Israel academic boycott
As mentioned last week, a group of 21 professors issued a highly pejorative letter excoriating the President. The letter was reported as reflecting faculty opposition to the boycott opposition.
Apparently other professors, however, are pushing back against the narrative that the faculty supports the boycott, issuing its own letter of support for the President and Dean of Faculty.
Anti-Israel academic boycotters play victim
ASA decided to make itself a weapon in the worldwide BDS war on Israel, a war which seeks Israel's delegitimization and destruction.
BDS is the mother's milk of anti-Semitism spreading throughout Europe and the world, and ASA has become one of its teats.
Regardless of how this plays out, ASA is no victim.
Israel's Christian Awakening
The Christian awakening in Israel goes beyond joining the IDF. Some Israeli Christian leaders now demand that their history and heritage be taught in state schools. "Children in Arab schools in Israel learn only Arab-Muslim history," says a report prepared by Mr. Khaloul and submitted to Israel's Ministry of Education, "and this causes the obliteration of Christian identity."
Some Israeli Christians even recently established a new political party, headed by Bishara Shlayan, a stocky, blue-eyed former captain in the Israeli navy who told me that he once beat up an Irish sailor in Londonderry who called him an "[expletive] Jew." The new party is puckishly called B'nai Brith ("Children of the Covenant"), and Shlayan says it will have Jewish as well as Christian members. Nazareth's mayor, Ramez Jaraisy, recently told the Times of Israel that Shlayan was a "collaborator" with the Israeli authorities.
"The current Arab political establishment only brought us hate and rifts," says Mr. Shlayan. "The Arab-Muslim parties didn't take care of us. We are not brothers with the Muslims; brothers take care of each other." Mr. Shlayan, who advocates better education, housing and employment for Israeli Christians, says he also dreams of turning Nazareth into an even busier tourist spot by erecting the world's biggest statue of Jesus.
Should this Christian awakening succeed, it would be yet another notable shift in the balance of power among religious groups in the Middle East.
Islamic groups call for NYE to be cancelled
A Malaysian Muslim group has called for New Year's celebrations to be cancelled because they reflect Jewish culture and will cause Muslim youths to commit sins.
A top Muslim cleric in the Asian state also said the New Year should be recognised with pray and religious speeches rather than parties.
New York Times probes anti-Semitism in Hungary
The survey, published online Tuesday, asks respondents whether they experienced anti-Semitism and considered emigrating as a result, among other questions.
"An openly anti-Semitic political party has gained power in Hungary's Parliament in recent years, fueling fears that the Eastern European nation is experiencing a rise in anti-Jewish sentiment," the paper wrote in an introduction to the online survey form.
Jerusalem Set to Approve Program Aimed at Bringing Thousands More French Jews to Israel
The Israeli government is expected to approve a program aimed at bringing thousands of French Jews to the country over the next three years, Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported on Friday.
A budget is currently being prepared for the initiative that intends to redirect Jews who are currently emigrating from France to other parts of the world to consider Israel as a viable alternative.
PwC: Israeli tech exits worth $7.6b in 2013
This is divided between mergers and acquisitions totaling $6.45 billion and IPOs (in Tel Aviv and New York) totaling $1.2 billion.
These numbers make 2013 the year with the second highest exit figures in the past decade, after 2006. But if two very large acquisitions of public companies that year Mercury by HP and M-Systems by SanDisk - are discounted, then 2013 leads by a long way.
Israeli IPO Wave Expected in 2014
"I think 2014 will be the year for more IPOs," said Nimrod Kozlovski, a partner at Jerusalem Venture Partners. "The home run in Israel is if you go IPO on Nasdaq, and I think that more companies in Israel now are lining up, trying to go to Nasdaq."
Mr. Kozlovski said the Israeli startup industry has matured to the point of creating 15 to 20 companies that could launch an IPO next year on New York, London or Tel Aviv exchange.
Elbit gets $229 mln Australian battle management system deal
Israeli defence electronics firm Elbit Systems said it was awarded follow-on contracts worth $229 million to supply battle management systems to Australia's Department of Defence.
The project will be performed over a three year period by Elbit Systems of Australia, the company said on Sunday.
IDF Blog: 13 Inspiring IDF Stories from 2013
2013 is coming to an end, but it leaves behind hundreds of stories to remember. In honor of the new year, we bring you the 13 most moving IDF stories that we told in 2013.
Reflections of a one-armed warrior
It is nearly four years since the loss of my dominant arm, which was taken from me by rocket near the border of Gaza when I was a fresh-faced IDF recruit.
When I look back at my difficult recovery, before my return to combat, I can't help but feeling blessed. The interim was rough but, without knowing it then, I gained insights that still benefit me today. In the period directly following my injury I already learned the most important lesson, one which continues to serve me well today: how to take it one day at a time.

Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 06:00:00 PM
Hamas tweeted:

And indeed the headline of the linked article says:

But if you actually read the article, it says

Department of Statistics in Ramallah, in a report on Friday, showed that 75%is of the detainees in 2013 were children under the age of 18 and young people between 18 and 30 years old.
Yes, in fact most of those "children" are adults!

This all ignores if these statistics are accurate to begin with. Their objectivity is a bit suspect:
Head of the Census Department, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, said that Israel deliberately targets young Palestinians, including children, because they are the core of the society, and its moving factor.

The former political prisoner added that Israel fears the Palestinian youths for their steadfastness and their persistence to achieve liberation and independence.

Ah, a mind-reader! It cannot possibly be because most terrorists are under 30, could it?

PCHR counts far less than half these numbers. Unfortunately, they don't add them up in their annual reports, but a rough guess shows that they document perhaps 1000 arrests a year.

I couldn't find the actual report on the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainee Affairs website or Facebook page, so the entire report may be fictional for all we know. But it is fun to see that Hamas will twist even already twisted data.

Somehow, I don't think an email campaign asking them to correct their "error" would be too effective.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 04:00:00 PM
In January, Jordan's king was publicly trying to mainstream Hamas to the world. At the World Economic Forum he claimed that Hamas was "more open than ever" to dialogue with Israel, and a few days afterwards he claimed that Hamas accepted a two-state solution.

Of course, Hamas immediately and vehemently denied both reports, but it shows that King Abdullah was trying to mainstream Hamas as it was being propped up by Egypt and actively supplanting the PA diplomatically.

Things are quite different today.

The chairman of Jordan's Foreign Affairs Committee in its parliament said that Jordan has no intention to normalize relations with Hamas, and that its political leader Khaled Meshal was unwelcome in the kingdom.

In January, moderate Arab states were afraid that Islamists would ride the Arab Spring wave and take over all of the Middle East, so acting in a conciliatory way seemed to be a wise move to stay alive politically. Now, after Egypt's popular coup, the Islamists are the ones running scared and being marginalized again - as they were in the 20th century.

Reverberations echo widely.

Too bad that same lesson is not being learned in the West as far as Shiite fundamentalism is concerned.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 02:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Football Jihad: The media misses the key point over Anelka's antisemitic gesture
However, most reports avoid the background on the antisemitic French 'comedian' and holocaust denier Dieudonne M'bala M'bala** (see, e.g. here and here). He is the one who invented 'la quenelle', and he has a string of convictions in French courts for antisemitism, including just last week being found guilty of incitement to hatred and racial discrimination - a conviction which apparently triggered Anelka's response. Hence, not a single report has pointed out the curious nature of the 'defence' used by Anelka (and his club) that he was 'only making a dedication to his comedian friend'. On that basis any public figure doing a Nazi salute could justify it by claiming it is only a dedication to their friend Adolf Hitler for the unjust treatment he got from the media.
The Guardian whitewashes antisemitism of Nicolas Anelka pal, Dieudonné
The Guardian stands alone in whitewashing the "comedian's" clear record of anti-Jewish rhetoric – another antisemitic sin of omission at the "liberal" broadsheet which has, by now, achieved a well-earned reputation for such curious moral blind spots.
French NBA star Tony Parker also panned for Nazi-like salute
"As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic," Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center's told the website Algemeiner.
More after the jump.

Headline Fails Over Lebanon Rockets
Early Sunday morning, five Katyusha rockets were fired from south Lebanon, two of which landed in northern Israel near the town of Kiryat Shmona. Israel launched some 20 artillery shells at the source of the rocket fire – a firm yet limited response. So how then did Israel's limited retaliation morph into these headlines?
Faux equivalence, 'last-first' reporting in BBC report on rocket attack from Lebanon
The IDF responded to the attack with artillery fire directed at its source near Marj Ayoun and lodged a complaint with UNIFIL.
So how did the BBC News website report that incident? Visitors to the Middle East home page saw the headline "Israel-Lebanon border fire exchanged" which of course gives readers no indication of which of the two parties mentioned triggered the incident or from where. The sub-heading read:
80% of December missile attacks from Gaza Strip ignored by BBC
Not all missiles fired by terrorist groups from the Gaza Strip land in Israeli territory: a significant proportion of them (some estimates say as many as 40%) fall short, landing in the Strip itself and hence endangering the local civilian population. Even if they eventually fall short, missiles fired do however trigger the early warning sirens which give residents of the area fifteen seconds to find cover from the incoming attack and of course for the local population, every sounding of the 'Colour Red' siren is a real incident which demands an instant and rapid response at whatever time of night or day.
Both aspects of this story – that of the residents of the Gaza Strip endangered and sometimes injured or killed by short-fall missiles and that of residents of southern Israel living with the constant threat of missile attacks – are severely under-reported by the BBC.
Wary of rockets, IDF beefs up security on Golan Heights
The IDF, bracing for an increased threat of rocket attacks along the border with Syria, has begun installing air raid sirens and fortified safe zones in all its bases on the Golan Heights.
"The goal we set for ourselves is to provide warning and physical protection to every soldier," Maj. David Ben-Gigi, the deputy engineering officer for the Golan Heights division, told the IDF's website.
Hamas Stresses it Views Negotiations, Abbas as Illegitimate
Hamas declared Sunday, on the 5th anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, that it would continue to "fight the Israeli occupation" and "advance national goals," no matter what the outcome of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) might be.
"Our nation (the Palestinians) did not authorize a single person to negotiate with the Occupation," the group declared in a statement, slamming Abbas and the PA.
Elliott Abrams: Mohamad Chatah, RIP
That Hezbollah/Assad alliance continues to plague Lebanon and to take the lives of political leaders and journalists who resist their control. Mohamad Chatah bravely criticized the Assad regime and Hezbollah, even tweeting what proved to be his last critique on the day of his death: "Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs." Surely he knew the risks he was taking, which makes his courage and patriotism remarkable.
Anti-Hezbollah Chants at Funeral of Former Lebanese Minister
Friday's attack on Shatah, a Sunni who was a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his Lebanese ally Hezbollah, has once again stoked sectarian enmities exacerbated by the spillover of Syria's conflict.
"There is no God but God and Hezbollah is the enemy of God," mourners chanted as Shatah's coffin - draped in green and gold cloth - was carried to a central Beirut mosque, reported Reuters.
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Hezbollah has been blamed. The group has denied it was responsible for the assassination, saying it was "heinous" and urging the Lebanese people to be "rational."
Lebanese TV Host
Instinctively Blames Israel After Hearing Blast While on Air (VIDEO)

A Lebanese TV host instinctively blamed Israel after hearing a bomb blast while on air. The incident happened on Friday in the Beirut studio of Lebanon's Future TV, and a video of the incident was published online on Sunday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
UN troops vow to catch Lebanese rocket launcher
Early Sunday morning, at around 7:30 a.m., at least two Katyusha rockets fired from South Lebanon landed west of the northern Galilee town of Kiryat Shmona. So far, no one has assumed responsibility for the attack.
"It is of paramount importance to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack and we will spare no efforts to this end working in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces," said UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra. "This is a very serious incident in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area."
Media Council: Seeking Israeli comments is illegal
Local media outlets are not allowed to seek comments from Israeli officials, the government's media monitoring and licensing arm reminded local outlets Friday.
"The Army is a sovereign issue, and it should be the only source for news in such incidents," said Abdul-Hadi Mahfouz, the head of the National Media Council.
Officials: Lebanese forces fire on Syrian planes
Security officials say Lebanese forces have fired on Syrian aircraft that violated the country's airspace.
It was the first time since the outbreak of the Syria's conflict three years ago that the Lebanese military took action to prevent Syrian warplanes from violating its airspace.
Sworn to Destruction: 20 Threats Iranian Leaders Made Against Israel in 2013
The danger of the Iranian regime is not confined to the rhetoric of its leaders. As demonstrated in the above quotes, Iran's desire to see Israel destroyed is clear, but even more worrisome is the fact that the Islamic Republic is developing the capabilities that will enable it to carry out its intentions.
The Iranian Armed Forces regularly hold military parades in Tehran. One of the main displays in such parades are truckloads of Shahab-3 missiles, which have a range of 1,300 km. (800 miles) – far enough to strike Israel. Fixed on the front or side of these missile trucks are banners that read, "Israel must be wiped off the map." The message is often translated into English by the Iranians themselves.
Iran negotiating with Russia over construction of new nuclear plants
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced on Iran's Channel 1 on Saturday that the new plants will help solve the country's energy needs, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.
He said three or four plants would be built according to the 20-25 year plan to provide 20,000 megawatts of electricity.
Egypt arrests Al-Jazeera TV's 4-member crew
The ministry says only two Al-Jazeera staff were arrested, an Australian journalist and a second person, a Brotherhood member. It says they were meeting at a five-star Cairo hotel that is used to "spread rumors harming national security."
Egypt's Interim President Promises Elections Within 7 Months
The timetable means that Egypt would have an elected government by next summer to replace the interim government installed by the army after it ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.
Mansour said that it would not be unconstitutional for presidential elections to be held before parliamentary elections.
Turkey Leaders Blame Jews, Foreign Conspiracies as Political Warfare Rocks Country
Erdogan and his AKP allies have during previous crises sought to link domestic unrest to foreign conspiracies. Their scapegoating has at times been explicitly anti-Semitic, at other times has targeted the United States, and occasionally has implied that Jews are driving anti-Turkish American policies.
Earlier this week Truman National Security Project fellow Joshua Walker noted that the AKP has already blamed Jews, gays, and others for the chaos around the corruption probe. Earlier this week Erdogan ally and then-EU Minister Egemen Bagis reportedly declared that "the people won't give up on Erdogan because Zionism is past its expiration date." AKP figures have also already also blasted the US in the context of the corruption probe.
'Middle East has become a killing field for journalists'
At least 70 journalists were killed on the job around the world in 2013, including 29 who died covering the civil war in Syria and 10 slain in Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The dead in Syria included a number of citizen journalists working to document combat in their home cities, broadcasters who worked with media outlets affiliated with either the government or the opposition, and a handful of correspondents for the foreign press, including an Al-Jazeera reporter, Mohamed al-Mesalma, who was shot by a sniper.

Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 12:30:00 PM
From WSJ:
Saudi Arabia pledged $3 billion to bolster Lebanon's armed forces, in a challenge to the Iranian-allied Hezbollah militia's decadeslong status as Lebanon's main power broker and security force.

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman revealed the Saudi gift on Lebanese national television Sunday, calling it the largest aid package ever to the country's defense bodies. The Saudi pledge compares with Lebanon's 2012 defense budget, which the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute put at $1.7 billion.

Lebanon would use the Saudi grant to buy "newer and more modern weapons," from France, said Mr. Sleiman, an independent who has become increasingly critical of Hezbollah. It followed what he called "decades of unsuccessful efforts" to build a credible Lebanese national defense force.

As a direct challenge to Hezbollah, the Saudi gift—and the Lebanese president's acceptance—has potential to change the balance of power in Lebanon and the region. It also threatens to raise sectarian and political tensions further in a region already made volatile by the three-year, heavily sectarian civil war next door in Syria.
This is a huge story for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is a power play by Saudi Arabia against Iran. Lebanon was considered a lost cause because of Hezbollah's military dominance and the West's lack of engagement in Syria. This gift instantly creates a powerful foil to the Iran/Hezbollah military axis in Lebanon and Syria.

Secondly, it shows that Saudi Arabia has decided to partially fill the vacuum being left by the current US hands-off policy in the Middle East (except, of course, "peace process" in which the White House has seemingly embraced the bizarre and discredited concept of "linkage.") Since no one can rely on America anymore in the Middle East, the Gulf countries are deciding to take matters into their own hands.

Thirdly, it shows that money can be just as important for power politics as military might. Saudi Arabia has cash, and now it is showing that it is willing to use it.

Fourthly, it might actually give a chance for the Lebanese army sometime in the future to enforce UNSC 1701 which is meant to disarm Hezbollah. This won't happen anytime soon; the Lebanese understandably have no stomach for another civil war, but Lebanon now has a chance to re-assert its sovereignty over its Iranian-controlled south.

The psychological effect of this move can be seen almost immediately:
The Lebanese army opened anti-aircraft fire on Monday at Syrian warplanes that hovered the eastern border town of Arsal.

According to state-run National News Agency, the Syrian warplanes prompted the Lebanese army to respond after it raided Khirbet Daoud, which lies in the Eastern Mountain Range in an area adjacent to the barren mountains of the town of Arsal.

LBCI reported that Syrian warplanes hit the area with three rockets.

It was the first time since the outbreak of the Syria's conflict three years ago that the Lebanese military took action to prevent Syrian warplanes from violating its airspace.
Would this have happened before the announcement of the aid? It seems unlikely.

As US influence fades, the pieces are moving and alliances are shifting into what will probably be a complicated balance of Shiite, Sunni moderate, Sunni radical and Israeli spheres of influence in the region. Russia and some EU countries will probably want to be involved to some extent as well., and there are plenty of wildcards like Turkey. The sheer number of possible moves makes every specific move far more significant - and potentially dangerous - than during the era of US hegemony.

The biggest loser is the US, and its missteps in the region will take decades to repair, if ever.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 12/30/2013 10:30:00 AM

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